Monday, November 20, 2006

The answers my friends...

I feel like the season is halfway through. That’s not true actually, but I feel like since the Tonys I’ve lived through half a season or more, so, as far as I am concerned, I can do a mid-season column. Pretending that we’re about half done, I think this is a good time to look at those probably eligible for the Best Actress in a Musical Tony Award.

These comments are based on what I expect to take place. Shockingly not everything always works out as I think it will, so, much of it could be wrong. I actually get a kick out of being surprised, so I hope some of it indeed turns out to be incorrect...

And, now, on with the show:

Charlotte d’Amboise, A Chorus Line
-- D’Amboise is in the role that everyone roots for. But not everyone has embraced her performance, most noting that she is not nearly as good as Donna McKechnie (who won a Tony for playing Cassie in the original production). She could possibly squeak in with a nomination, but she’ll have tough competition.

Lisa Brescia, The Times They Are A-Changin'
--I’m even sure Brescia would be lead, they could leave her in featured. Either way, she won’t be nominated. I’m not saying she wasn’t good, I’m just saying no chance.

Christine Ebersole, Grey Gardens
--Front-runner. Duh. Though, just as Julie White has Angela Lansbury coming up, Ebersole has some biggies in her way. (Though, Ebersole is facing biggies who frequently do theater, making them less intimidating than Jessica Fletcher.) Kristin Chenoweth, Audra McDonald and Donna Murphy are all critical darlings and thus should be feared a tiny bit. But the Ebersole acclaim is unlike anything we’ve experience recently in the theater and it is likely to hold up come June.

Daphne Rubin-Vega, Les Misérables
--Will she be lead or featured? I know Patti was lead in London, but Graff wasn’t nominated and I certainly don’t remember what she was eligible for, so… I don’t know. I tend to think featured, but, either way, she is sadly unlikely to be picking up another Tony nomination plaque.

Ashley Brown, Mary Poppins
--Brown was practically perfect technically, but not transcendent in anyway. Many critics noted her big smile and the last time that happened, it involved Sutton Foster, who went on to win a Tony for Thoroughly Modern Millie. Of course teeth isn’t all there is to it. Brown could possibly get a nomination—she is in the maybe pile along with d’Amboise, Debra Monk and more—but she certainly is not in contention for the statuette.

Jenn Colella, High Fidelity
--Umm…. No. I remember liking Colella in Urban Cowboy, but her out-of-town reviews for this don’t exactly spell Tony nomination. I guess she could totally turn it around—it’s just unlikely. (Though I root for everyone!)

Lea Michele, Spring Awakening
--This is another one where I’m not quite sure which side of the lead/featured fence she will fall on. I tend to think, based on what I’ve heard, lead. Though I didn’t see it… If she is lead, she would be in the ‘maybe’ stack I would think. She received good notices off-Broadway, but she wasn’t really made a big deal about. She would need some buzz for the nominators to select her.

Kristin Chenoweth, The Apple Tree
--Kristin is basically a nomination shoe-in because 1) she is Kristin Chenoweth and 2) she already received rave reviews for her performance in this show at Encores!. It is of course doubtful she will win. To her disadvantage, the show will be long gone in June and she will probably already be back in LA making another unsuccessful movie.

Debra Monk, Curtains
--I’m not 100% sure she is lead, but I think she is and I hear she is great in this. We can definitely count on there being some support behind her because she is an industry favorite. The problem is, with Ebersole, Chenoweth, McDonald and Murphy, there isn’t much room. Of course one of them could fail, but, if not, Monk will find herself in tight competition for the fifth slot. I think she could very well be the one who gets it though.

Audra McDonald, 110 in the Shade
--I honestly know nothing about 110 in the Shade. But, I mean, it’s Audra McDonald, so, barring horrible incident, she’ll certainly get a nomination. She has a history of winning these gold things, so, even though I think the Ebersole train will be hard to derail, I can’t count her out.

Stephanie J. Block, The Pirate Queen
--Well… She’s supposedly good, but…. The Pirate Queen is a sinking ship. I’m sure she’ll float to the surface with the help of a life ring and come out unscathed, it’s just going to be hard to score a nomination amid tough competition unless the musical's rewritten book and new staging helps float the boat. I’m not counting her out though, with this show, we’ll have to wait and see.

Laura Bell Bundy, Legally Blonde
--This show is a huge break for Bundy, if she can really carry it off, she could be honored with a nomination (no more than that). But she is another one who is going to fall into the large maybe pile.

Donna Murphy, Love Musik
--I cannot really picture what they are going to do with the character of Lotte Lenya based on the differing things I’ve heard during this show’s development. It’s just that it’s Donna Murphy and she has received nominations for her last three Broadway performances (winning two). There is still some bad feeling in the community towards her because of her Wonderful Town absences, but it’s hard to imagine that she won’t be nominated for what is bound to be a tricky role in a challenging musical. Winning is really another issue, though she could be helped if Ebersole starts missing performances and Riedel gets on her…

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